There’s plenty to watch this weekend for lovers of long-running franchises and year-end comedy reviews.
First, for Star Wars fans, The Book of Boba Fett premiered on December 29 on Disney+ and makes creative use of flashback scenes to let us know how the main character survived the Sarlacc on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi, while giving useful context in the current timeline.
The recovering Boba (Temuera Morrison) now has the complicated problem of trying to consolidate Jabba’s criminal empire while every other cutthroat in the outer rim is attempting to do the same. Confounding the situation further, is the former bounty hunter has a more egalitarian approach to wielding power over his former cohorts and the citizenry. While some seem to appreciate the respect; in episode one, there are already signs of open revolt. Luckily, he has Fennec Shand (Ming Na Wen) to protect his back and offer sage counsel. It’s a good thing they have a fully operational bacta tank at the fortress. Look for new episodes to drop early every Wednesday on Disney+.
As the ball drops on Times Square, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts drops on HBO Max, enabling fans of the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling to reminisce on a franchise consisting mostly of child stars and get a glimpse of their perspectives. Primary cast members, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) will be joined by fellow recurring castmates Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) for in-depth interviews and cast conversations. Don’t expect any new storylines, but there should be some good backstage revelations. It opens Jan. 1 at midnight on HBO Max.
In the second installment of what hopefully doesn’t become an annual series, Yearly Departed, is now showing on Amazon video. Host Yvonne Orji of HBO’s Insecure leads the charge of roasting another atypical year ravaged by a virus, people living in close quarters, and being at the mercy of technology as social graces deteriorate around us. The cast of presenters is a list of some of the funniest women working in comedy today, (Dulcé Sloan, Megan Stalter, X Mayo, Aparna Nancherla, and a special appearance by Jane Fonda), and listening to their point of view on the state of 2021 is hilarious. This should be required watching for men, and some should even take notes. Rachel Brosnahan (The Amazing Mrs. Maisel) is one of the primary producers, and makes a minor cameo, so it’s understandable why this show is so funny and why so many young, talented women turned out to give their opinions. You can tune in right now and start laughing immediately on Amazon video while toasting out 2021.